USWNT claims SheBelieves Cup title; Rose Lavelle named tournament MVP
ORLANDO, Fla. – The U.S. Women’s National Team took the championship of the 2021 SheBelieves Cup in emphatic fashion with a 6-0 victory against Argentina.
Boosted by a brace from Megan Rapinoe, first-half goals from Carli Lloyd and Kristie Mewis, plus two late tallies from Alex Morgan and Christen Press, the USA clinched its fourth SheBelieves Cup title, becoming the first back-to-back champion in the tournament’s six-year history and the first team to not allow a single goal at the competition.
Rose Lavelle was awarded the SheBelieves Cup MVP award. Her dynamic style of play was on display in all three games and she scored the game-winning goal vs. Canada in the opener as well as earning the assist on the opening goal tonight. The midfielder received 31.7% of the total vote, narrowly edging Press, who received 30.9% of the vote. Brazil’s Debinha (21.7%) and Adriana (15.7%) were the other finalists. A five-member committee selected the four finalists and the winner was determined by a combination of the committee votes as well as votes from over 8,000 fans.
Final Standings – 2021 SheBelieves Cup
After two hard-fought victories against Canada and Brazil to open the tournament, an offensive outburst fueled the USWNT to a dominant showing vs. La Albiceleste. The USA piled up a 27-1 margin in shots and kept the ball in Argentina’s defensive half for most of the night.
The USA kicked off the scoring in the 16th minute as Lavelle chipped a ball over the Argentina defense to set up Rapinoe for the game’s first goal. Lloyd would set up Rapinoe’s second just 10 minutes later. It was Rapinoe’s her third score of the 2021 tournament and seventh all-time at the SheBelieves Cup, the most in the competition’s history. Rapinoe’s brace also marked her 56th and 57th international goals, moving her to the top 10 in scoring all-time for the USWNT, passing Carin Gabarra.
Lloyd, appearing in her 299th match for the USWNT, scored a goal of her own in the 35th minute off an assist from Mewis. The veteran forward’s next appearance will see her join Kristine Lilly and Christie Pearce Rampone in an extremely exclusive club as the only players in USWNT and world history with 300 caps.
Following some nice combination play with Casey Krueger, Mewis also got on the scoresheet in the waning minutes of the first half as she made her first start for the USWNT since March 2014.
After a number of chances following the break, Morgan and Press put exclamation points on the evening in the 84th and 88th minutes, respectively. Young forward Sophia Smith, the first player born in 2000 to play for the USWNT, recorded her first assist as she teed up Morgan’s first goal as a mom and her 108th for the USWNT, moving her past Michelle Akers and into sole possession of fifth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list. Press capped off a busy night of threatening the Argentina defense with a goal off a corner via an assist from Lindsey Horan. Both have been incredibly productive for the USA of late — Press’ goal marked her 11th in her last 13 games while Horan has had a hand in nine of the USWNT’s 19 goals in 2021.
Argentina played in a compact defensive block for the entire match, often with all 11 players inside the final 45 yards to goal, and it took the USA a bit of time to break down the defense. But in the end, WNT threatened and scored in a variety of ways, on set pieces, building from the back, in transition and working the ball around the Argentinian box.
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski used all six of his available substitutions, including five in the second half after a pre-planned change of defenders Emily Sonnett for Kelley O’Hara at the 30-minute mark as the veteran right back works her way back to fitness after a minor injury. The two youngest players on the USWNT roster, 21-year-old Jaelin Howell and the 20-year-old Smith, made their second and third full international appearances, respectively.
While action was limited for goalkeeper Jane Campbell, she recorded her second career shutout in her third career start for the USWNT. After entering the 2021 SheBelieves Cup without allowing a shot on goal in its last 302 minutes of play, the U.S. back line did not allow Argentina a shot on target and has not given up a goal in its last six games.
The USWNT is planning to return to action during the April international window.
GOAL SCORING SUMMARY
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Rose Lavelle), 16th minute: From the edge of the center circle, Lavelle chipped a well-placed ball over the Argentinian back line that bounced to the feet of Rapinoe, cutting between the center backs. She let the ball roll and then fired a low, left-footed shot into the right side of the net from 18 yards out to open the scoring for the USWNT. USA 1, ARG 0
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Carli Lloyd), 26th minute: Christen Press sparked the sequence ahead of Rapinoe’s second goal, slipping a pass between Argentinian defenders for Carli Lloyd near the top of the 18-yard box. The veteran forward dribbled towards goal, and when Argentina goalkeeper Solana Pereyra came out to challenge, smoothly laid it off for Rapinoe, who split two defenders and slid to one-time it from close range into the back of the net. USA 2, ARG 0
USA – Carli Lloyd (Kristie Mewis), 35th minute: Tierna Davidson played a nice ball down the left wing from the edge of the center circle to Rapinoe, who coolly turned with the ball and slid it through an Argentina defender’s legs to find Mewis on the run towards the end line. Mewis sent in a rolling cross to the six-yard box and while Pereyra tried to cut off the pass, Lloyd got there first and sent it around the goalkeeper inside to the left post from the top of the six-yard box. USA 3, ARG 0
USA – Kristie Mewis (Casey Krueger), 41st minute: After Argentina failed to clear the ball, Mewis won it back with some aggressive play, getting it to Krueger just outside the box. The left back took a few dribbles before dishing back to Mewis, who took a touch to speed around an Argentina defender into the left side of the penalty area and ripped a shot from about 15 yards out from a difficult wide angle all the way across the goal and inside the far right post. It marked Mewis’ fourth international goal and third in the USWNT’s last six matches. USA 4, ARG 0
USA – Alex Morgan (Sophia Smith), 84th minute: Winning the ball and moving quickly downfield in transition, Becky Sauerbrunn played to Smith near the midfield line. The young forward made a nice cutting run through the Argentinian half, maneuvering around a number of defenders before playing a well-weighted pass forward to Morgan near the top of the penalty box. As Pereyra came out to make a stop, Morgan fired a shot over the diving goalkeeper to the middle of the net, tallying in her club’s home stadium. USA 5, ARG 0
USA – Christen Press (Lindsey Horan), 88th minute: Taking a late corner kick from the right side, Kristie Mewis sent in a booming ball to the far post. Horan rose above the crowd to get her head on it and send it across goal. Press was lurking unmarked at the opposite post and she tucked a clean header inside the near post for the game’s final goal. USA 6, ARG 0
- The USA improves to 4-0-0 all-time vs. Argentina.
- The USA extended its unbeaten streak to 37 games. The U.S. is now unbeaten in its last 53 home matches: 48 wins and five draws. The run has seen the USA outscore its opponents 188-27, including a margin of 58-3 during its last 15 matches on home soil.
- U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski is 16-0-0 in his first 16 games, extending a record for best start for a head coach in USWNT history. Current Brazil head coach Pia Sundhage holds the second-best start for any head coach in USWNT history with 10 straight victories.
- The 6-0 win against Argentina marked the USA’s biggest margin of victory at the SheBelieves Cup and the USWNT’s highest-scoring game in tournament history.
- Megan Rapinoe is the first player to score more than two goals in a single SheBelieves Cup tournament. Her three goals made her the leading scorer of the 2021 edition.
- After scoring just one goal during the USWNT’s curtailed 2020 schedule, Megan Rapinoe already has netted five goals through the first five games of 2021.
- Press has been directly involved in 28 goals in her last 29 appearances for the USA, scoring 13 goals and assisting 15 more. She also served in the free kick that led to Rose Lavelle’s game-winner vs. Canada on Feb. 18.
- Midfielder Lindsey Horan has had a hand in nine of the USWNT’s 19 goals in 2021. She played a part in two goals and drew a penalty vs. Colombia on Jan. 18, scored and played a part in another goal vs. Colombia on Jan. 22, picked up an assist vs. Canada on Feb. 18, two vs. Brazil on Feb. 21 and one vs. Argentina tonight.
- Andonovski made seven changes from the starting lineup that faced Brazil on Feb. 21: Jane Campbell replaced Alyssa Naeher in goal, Casey Krueger, Tierna Davidson and Kelley O’Hara for Crystal Dunn, Abby Dahlkemper and Emily Sonnett on the back line, Kristie Mewis for Lindsey Horan in the midfield, and on the forward line, Megan Rapinoe for Lynn Williams and Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan.
- Kristie Mewis made her first start since March 10, 2014. The 2,543 days between starts mark the second-longest span in USWNT history. Keri Raygor went 2,664 days between starts from 1994 to 2001.
– 2021 SHEBELIEVES CUP MATCH REPORT –
Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. Argentina
Date: Feb. 24, 2021
Competition: 2021 SheBelieves Cup
Venue: Exploria Stadium; Orlando, Florida
Attendance: 3,702 (Limited Attendance)
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. ET
Weather: 79 degrees, Mostly Sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 2 6
ARG 0 0 0
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Rose Lavelle) 16th minute
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Carli Lloyd) 26
USA – Carli Lloyd (Kristie Mewis) 35
USA – Kristie Mewis (Casey Krueger) 41
USA – Alex Morgan (Sophia Smith) 84
USA – Christen Press (Lindsey Horan) 88
USA: 18-Jane Campbell; 5-Kelley O’Hara (14-Emily Sonnett, 32), 12-Tierna Davidson, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Capt.), 2-Casey Krueger (20-Margaret Purce, 46); 8-Julie Ertz (3-Jaelin Howell, 62), 16-Rose Lavelle (9- Lindsey Horan, 46), 22-Kristie Mewis; 23-Christen Press, 10-Carli Lloyd (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Sophia Smith, 62)
Subs not used: 1-Alyssa Naeher, 6-Lynn Williams, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 19-Crystal Dunn, 21-Casey Murphy
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
ARG: 1-Solana Pereyra; 21-Adriana Sachs, 4-Marina Delgado, 6-Aldana Cometti, 20-Daiana Falfan (10-Dalila Ippolito, 59), 15-Milagros Menendez (19-Mariana Larroquette, 51), 18-Romina Nuñez (3-Eliana Stabile, 46), 5-Vanesa Santana (Capt.), 11-Yamila Rodriguez (7-Yael Oviedo, 63), 8-Clarisa Huber (14-Miriam Mayorga, 52), 9-Soledad Jaimes (17-Valentina Camara, 75)
Subs not used: 12-Laurina Oliveros; 2-Agustina Barroso, 13-Sophia Braun
Head coach: Carlos Borrello
Stats Summary: USA / ARG
Shots: 26 / 1
Shots on Goal: 11 / 0
Saves: 0 / 5
Corner Kicks: 7 / 0
Fouls: 6 / 10
Offside: 5 / 0
ARG – Romina Nuñez (Caution) 27th minute
ARG – Vanesa Santana (Caution) 72
ARG – Dalila Ippolito (Caution) 90
Referee: Marianela Araya Cruz (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Chantal Boudreau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Shirley Perello (HON)
4th Official: Melissa Borjas (HON)
U.S. Soccer Insiders Woman of the Match: Megan Rapinoe